Google Snubs & Bing Embraces The 2015 Rugby World Cup

Photo from Rugby World Cup site.
Looking to get the latest information on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which began today and runs through October? Don’t google it. Bing it — because Bing’s got scores, line-ups and information while Google has nothing.
Search for “rugby world cup” on Bing, and you get the latest scores of any matches:

That includes a link to the current standings. You can also click from the box to various days to see upcoming matches, along with Bing’s prediction of who will win:

Google has no special display like this. Google has done this type of thing for other national and international events, but rugby doesn’t appear to earn that respect.
Google earlier snubbed the FIFA Women’s World Cup in not providing a special display on desktop and iOS devices. Android users did get a special display. But for the Rugby World Cup, there’s not even anything special for Android.
Google’s also not giving the event a special doodle

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How Google Now, Siri & Cortana Predict What You Want

Google, Apple and Microsoft all have agents that want to be your personal assistant. But how well Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana can predict your needs depends on how much you want to share, how wedded to particular platforms you want to be and, in some cases, how much you actively want to help make those predictions happen.
Going Under-The-Hood
Ferreting out how these agents work is a challenge. The companies all have pages that describe Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. But those are generally focused on what they can do, not how exactly they do it.
There are various help and privacy pages, but those aren’t always helpful. Google Now information is, in part, spread out across a page for the Google App for iOS and another area for Android. Cortana has a nice single page on privacy but still lacks specifics on some points. Apple’s privacy page notes that it doesn’t mine mail for ads, but neglects to

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About To Launch A WordPress Site? Here’s What You Need To Know About SEO

WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world — roughly half of sites that use a CMS use WordPress.
There is good reason for WordPress’ popularity. It’s versatile, easy to use and highly customizable, due to the numerous plugins and themes available.
Many believe that using WordPress to host a site automatically guarantees good SEO. As the belief goes, all you need to do is start a WordPress site, and your SEO will take care of itself.
It doesn’t work that way. If you’re on the cusp of launching a new WordPress site, here’s what you need to know to maximize search engine visibility. My goal in this article is to provide several overarching strategies (rather than a technical how-to) that will improve your search potential.
1. WordPress Is Not An Automatic SEO Solution
First, let me reiterate the fact that WordPress is not an SEO silver bullet. The value of WordPress for SEO is that it is simple and intuitive. The platform

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SEO Disasters: Preventing The Unthinkable

Like any SEO veteran, I can recount my share of horror stories — launching Google Analytics and noticing that sudden, sickening drop in traffic.
Sometimes, sudden drops in traffic may be the result of an algorithm changes (such as Panda). However, in many cases, they are caused by bugs, inadvertent changes or overambitious engineers with a little bit of SEO knowledge.
In this article, I will examine three real-life case studies and outline the steps necessary for SEO disaster prevention.
Case #1: “Something Bad Is Happening To My Website.”
I was at a company offsite, and my phone had been vibrating with several calls. I left my meeting and saw that my good friend (let’s call him “Tony”) had called several times and left a message: “I think something bad happening to my website. Traffic is crashing. Some sort of SEO problem.”
Tony runs iFly, an extremely successful airport information site. Like many of us, he is very dependent on Google traffic; an SEO issue would be a big

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Study: Position 1 In Search May Get Fewer Clicks Than Position 2 With Rich Snippets

The folks at Blue Nile Research have released a study on the impact of rich snippets in the search results.
Rich snippets, often enabled by adding structured markup to your code, can potentially add stars, images, videos and so forth to the search results you see on Google or Bing. The richer user experience often leads to searchers paying more attention to the search results with the rich snippets versus the basic snippets.
Blue Nile Research claims that rich snippets in position 2 will have a 61 percent click capture rate, whereas no rich snippets on position 1 would have a 48 percent click share. This is compared to no rich snippets in position 2, which would result in only a 35 percent click share. So there is a 26-percent increase in the percentage of clicks the second result sees, if that second result has rich snippets.
Here is the chart:

You can download the full study over here.
The post Study:

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How Important Is Click-Through Rate In An SEO Campaign?

Click-through rate (CTR) is obviously an important metric to consider in various facets of your online marketing strategy.
The CTR of your social media posts could determine how much visibility future posts get; the CTR of your ads could indicate their relevance to your target audience; and the CTR of your organic search results speaks to the value proposition of your page titles and descriptions.
The higher your CTR is, the more people will visit your site (assuming visibility remains constant), so of course it’s valuable to improve it.
Additionally, CTR has long been believed to have another benefit: increased rankings. In other words, many believe that pages with higher click-through rates for certain search queries tend to rank higher for those search queries. Essentially, CTR has been considered a significant factor that influences organic search rankings — that is, up until recently.
The History
There is extensive groundwork for the idea of CTR influencing organic search rankings. As recently as 2014, it’s been considered an important

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Google May Add Structured Markup & Data To Ranking Algorithm

Structured data, structured markup and rich snippets have always been about helping Google and search engines understand your content and potentially lead to Google making your search result snippet richer, with the goal of increasing your click-through rate from the organic results to your page.
Google has said, time and time again, that these are not used in the ranking algorithm to make a Web page rank better. They have said that adding structured markup to your pages won’t directly lead to your page ranking better in the Google search results.
Well, that may change in the future.
Google’s John Mueller said in a Google Hangout this morning (at the 21:40 minute mark) that “over time, I think it [structured markup] is something that might go into the rankings as well.”
He said Google currently doesn’t use this for ranking purposes, but that over time, Google may indeed start using it. He went on to explain his rationale:
If we can recognize

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The Opportunity Prospector: Link Development’s Most Undervalued Role

Congrats! Your team’s Link Strategist has just served up a campaign idea that fits the brand and the budget. Management’s on board. Take a happy hour to celebrate!
The Prospector may need to cut out early though; first thing tomorrow, the team needs her insights and opportunity lists.
For this article, we define an opportunity for any writer (webmaster, blogger, journalist, subject expert, curator) who contributes to your campaign’s niche.
If the Link Strategist sees the forest, it’s up to the Opportunity Prospector to find and name each tree. This may sound intimidating, but it’s actually my favorite part of link building. And in this article, I share our strategic and tactical Opportunity Prospector checklist.
If You Appreciate One Thing About Opportunity Prospecting In This Article…
…let it be that glorious sense of discovery when you find a vein of opportunity that was unexpected.
Prospector’s high is real, folks. I’ll show you how to get there.
Who Is This

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Google To Double The Number Of Health Conditions In Search Results

Google announced they are more than doubling their health conditions database, so that when you search for health or medical topics in Google, you are more likely to find factual medical data on that condition.
Google launched medical content in search back in February with about 400 conditions. Over the next few weeks, you should see more than 900 conditions listed. Google also is adding downloadable PDFs and updating the overall design on both Web and mobile.
Here are the three large changes happening with Google’s medical search results:

Hundreds more health conditions (soon more than 900 total, more than double the number Google started with) with quick at-a-glance info on symptoms, treatments, prevalence and more
Visual design improvements and some more specific triggering so it’s quicker and easier to get the info you need (for example, you can now search for “pink eye symptoms,” and you’ll get straight to the symptoms tab)
A “Download PDF” link so you can easily print

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Bing Predictions Tackles The NFL, Likes The Broncos, Colts, Packers & Seahawks

Mat Hayward / Shutterstock.com
NFL fans in Denver, Indianapolis, Green Bay and Seattle might be happy to know that Bing’s prediction engine has slated their hometown teams as the top seeds in the AFC and NFC this coming season.
Those are some of the initial prognostications as Bing sets its prediction engine loose on pro football.
The playoff predictions are part of a weekly power rankings that Bing plans to publish each Tuesday at 12:00 PM PT. A search for “nfl playoff predictions” will bring up the most up-to-date predictions for the six teams in each conference that Bing thinks are on track to make the playoffs.
Those aren’t the only predictions Bing has planned for football season. There’ll be weekly game-by-game predictions that will show on searches for NFL team names, along with an explanation behind why Bing is making each game prediction. And Bing’s also going to try helping fantasy football players by predicting who the top

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